Brown’s Classic Autos: For the Joy of the Ride
In their state-of-the-art facility in Scottsdale, you could say Walt and Addison Brown are living their dream.
From a small garage just a few years ago to 18,600 square feet today, the Browns have combined their passion for cars with a commitment to superior quality, unsurpassed attention to detail and dedication to customer service. The result is a thriving business that has captured the attention of classic car enthusiasts across the country.
The new space has also allowed for the expansion of services the company can offer, evolving from the original concept of buying, restoring and selling classic cars to now providing personalized, quality consignment sales and the recent announcement of a fully integrated, multi-bay service department, capable of servicing most American and foreign classics. Walt says it best, “we are a concierge service for the classic car collector. Anything automotive, from an oil change and safety inspection to complete turnkey customs, hot rods, muscle cars and pro touring g-machines, we can do it all.”
Among the specialized services Brown’s now provides are custom headers and exhaust fabrication installations, custom stereos, supercharger and turbo fab installations, EFI installs, air-conditioning and heater systems, cooling system upgrades and air-suspension installation.
Offering quality consignment was a natural extension of Brown’s time-proven sales and marketing strategies. Walt says, “our approach to sales and marketing has proven successful time and time again,” adding, “it just made sense for our team to take that sales experience and offer it to customers wanting to sell their classics. We have been able to produce quick sales for all types of cars from hot rods to matching-number survivors.”
And customers are loving Brown’s consignment program. Jack Cronin, who recently sold his 1955 customized Bel Air at Brown’s had this to say; “I can tell you that Brown’s Classic Auto [is] top-shelf, extremely honest and straight forward. I can highly recommend this dealership and would buy a car there any day. Great work, Addison. Thanks again, and hope the buyer loved it too.”
The beautiful new dealership made news in January, when they welcomed General Motors and car lover Jay Leno to the showroom for the Valley unveiling of the 2014 C7 Corvette Stingray, celebrating the 60th anniversary of the great American sports car. After this masterpiece graced their garage, Walt claims you can expect someone in the Brown family to be an owner of this new model in the near future.
Following a Family Tradition
Walt’s dad, Walt, Sr. opened a used-car dealership in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1953. According to Walt, buying and selling cars was simply second nature for his dad. “He was like a good bird dog; he could smell the deal and I think he passed that skill on to me. I also inherited his attention to small details and his big-picture mentality. I believe both qualities have contributed to our success here at Brown’s.”
Addison grew up in Scottsdale with her car-enthusiast dad, Jim McGrath. “Dad loved to drag race at the track every weekend, and on the Beeline Highway east of Scottsdale before it became so busy. I loved going with him to car shows. He taught me to identify a car by its engine and how to drive a manual transmission. I learned so much from him.”
Walt and Addison agree that their backgrounds and early experiences with cars helped shape their desire to create Brown’s Classic Autos, long before they opened their first small shop in Scottsdale’s Airpark.
People Make the Difference
The Browns and their seven employees have a combined 150 years of industry experience. Always on the lookout for the best and brightest talent, Tony Arme is the latest addition to the staff. Formerly with Hot Rods by Dean, Tony is a well-known veteran in the hot rod community. “We are thrilled to have Tony on our team,” says Walt. “He is widely known and respected for his mastery in fabrication and brilliant design. His attention to detail is second-to-none.”
Rounding out the shop team are Pablo Sifuentes and Willie Smaltz who specialize in the expert detailing Brown’s Classic Autos is known for.
Jason Mack leads the sales department and quality consignment efforts. “He has a strong history and technical knowledge of cars combined with a kind-hearted personality,” Addison explains. “Sometimes in our industry, sales people are really tough to deal with and after just one thing – the sale – but not the customer service to support it. Not Jason. His number-one concern is customer satisfaction, ensuring every customer knows they are someone special here at Brown’s.”
Cars, Cars, Cars
Among the current, stunning inventory of available cars at Brown’s is a 1950 Chevrolet Bel Air that won the Turtle Wax “Top Ten” award in 2008 and was the featured car for the 2009 Goodguys West Coast Nationals.
Here’s how Mack describes this jewel: “This beauty has laser-straight lines under its Driftwood paint. Wonderful interior upgrades include Vintage heat and air, power windows, custom fitted dash, billet aluminum gauge cluster, custom stereo with concealed speaker system including amp and subwoffer, Flaming River steering column with custom paint, beige ultra leather and wool cut-pile carpet.
“You will love the look of the high-end German top that is dark brown on top with tan underside, utilizing the factory convertible bows and motor with slightly modified bows in the rear for a smother contour. The convertible top also comes with two padded covers.
“Under the hood, you will find a 383-cubic-inch stroker engine with custom air cleaner and valve covers, Doc’s Blocks polished aluminum custom radiator, Edelbrock aluminum heads, intake manifold and four-barrel carburetor, high-torque GM starter, Drivetrain Factory S I-beam frame, Mustang II power rack and pinion custom power steering system, tubular A-Arms for the front suspension, Mustang II front disc brakes and Ford rear drum brakes.
“The GM700R4 automatic transmission was rebuilt with a transmission cooler,” he adds. “You will also find an Optima Yellow Top battery mounted in the trunk.”
Walt and Addison have developed a business model based upon two fundamental concepts; first, to serve their customers in a way that exceeds all expectations; and second, to give back to their community. Charitable giving has always had an important place at Brown’s Classic Autos.
During the 2012 Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale, Walt and Addison purchased a Chevy Camaro; a one-off created by car customizer Steve Saleen and Bob and Pat Bondurant. The $100,000 purchase price benefited Cox Charities and Make-A-Wish Foundation of Arizona. At Barrett-Jackson this past January they sold their 1961 Chevy Impala to Ron Pratt, raising $150,000 for Cox Charities and ChildHelp. “I love charitable giving,” says Addison. “We feel that giving back to our community is essential to who we are.”
“Buying a classic car is buying a memory for many of our customers. But having a collector car can be time-consuming and a daunting chore at times,” Walt says. “We take the stress and work out of it, and leave our customers with simply the joy and the love of the cars. We do it all – and we do it right.”
You can visit Brown’s Classic Autos in Scottsdale’s Airpark at 16066 N. 77th Street, open 8:00am to 4:30pm, Monday thru Friday and Saturdays by appointment. Or check them out online at www.brownsclassicautos.com. Contact the showroom or service department at (480) 998-4300 and Addison at Addison@brownsclassicautos.com.